Ohio treasurer Mandel hopeful for political future
Feb 1, 2013 at 6:10 PM
Mandel confirmed this week that he plans to seek re-election as Ohio treasurer next year.
"Obviously it's impossible to predict the future, but you know, I think the best course forward for me is just do a good job as state treasurer, which I believe we have been doing and I'll continue to do," Mandel said Thursday during a legislative preview session for journalists organized by The Associated Press.
Asked to reflect on the rancorous campaign and its potentially damaging effect on his political ambitions, Mandel rattled off a few Ohio politicians who he said bounced back after their "political obituaries" were written. He noted that George Voinovich had a double-digit loss in a 1988 Senate race before becoming governor and later U.S. senator, and that current Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine lost a 1992 challenge to then-Sen. John Glenn but won a Senate seat two years later. DeWine lost the seat to Brown, a Democrat, in 2006.
Mandel said he's glad voters will decide whether he's re-elected treasurer, not politicians like the state party leaders.
Shortly after November's election was decided, Ohio Democratic Party chairman Chris Redfern suggested that the 35-year-old would be remembered as the candidate who chose to accept $40 million in special interest money and "wallow in the mud."
"He's six months away from appearing on Fox News as a regular analyst," Redfern said at the time. "He will join the likes of Ken Blackwell and others who will slip away into the past. And we'll recognize him from time to time as that fellow who followed Sarah Palin."
Mandel vowed in his concession speech to continue promoting government accountability, lower taxes and fiscal responsibility.
"I feel comfortable putting it in the hands of the voters," he said Thursday of re-election.
Mandel credited Brown with running "a very effective campaign" and said he blames himself, not his staff or consultants, for falling short in the race. Mandel said the election taught him that he and other Republicans must do a better job communicating with black voters and that he must be more accessible to media informing the public.
Mandel went nearly two years as treasurer without a news conference regarding the business of his office, and during that time was criticized for ignoring his official duties to attend far-flung fundraisers and campaign events.
More than half the money spent in the Senate race came from outside groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Republican strategist Karl Rove's American Crossroads organization. The onslaught of mostly negative ads against Brown is thought to have damaged Mandel in the eyes of Ohio voters — who favored Brown by a 6 percent margin.
Secretary of State Jon Husted, who was speaker of the Ohio House when Mandel was a fledgling state representative, sat next to Mandel during this week's panel. He chimed in with support.
"If I were the Democrats, and Josh was out there, I'd want to write his obituary, too, but a guy that ... did as well as he did, who's in his mid-30s, he's got a very bright future," Husted said.